The Hard Road Ahead

The Hard Road Ahead, by Rod Dreher.

There are no miracle drugs yet proven. Herd immunity is much too far away, expensive in lives and economic dislocation, and short-lived even if we could achieve it. Lifting restrictions risks a second wave, as has already happened in Singapore and Germany. Apart from getting more sun, what can we do? The short-term outlook is grim.

I doubt very much that most Americans will be able and willing, either psychologically or economically, to continue this lockdown for much longer. What happens when big, angry crowds of people who have lost their livelihoods, their homes, and their futures take to the streets demanding action — and the government is incapable of giving it to them?

This is the stuff of which revolutions are made. I’ve been saying in this space for some time — long before the pandemic — that the United States is in a pre-totalitarian state, according to the measures laid out by Hannah Arendt in The Origins of Totalitarianism. Widespread loneliness, social atomization, loss of faith in institutions, a mania for ideology — these and other factors were present and worsening before the pandemic struck. What kept us together in spite of them was our relative wealth.

Now, because of the coronavirus, we are staring into the face of mass impoverishment — and nobody, except for the superrich, is safe from it. Keep in mind too that the failure of the Russian imperial government to respond effectively to the 1891-92 famine there profoundly undermined confidence in the regime, and helped set the stage for the later revolution.

hat-tip Stephen Neil